Marking 300 days of activist Umar Khalid’s imprisonment under draconian UAPA on arbitrary and suspect allegations in connection with the northeast Delhi violence, the solidarity and support shown to him have caused a massive campaign on social media with many activists, politicians and hundreds of social media users demanding that Khalid should be released.
“Minute by minute, hour by hour, they have stole 300 days from Umar. Every time we remember Umar, every time we speak of his dreams. Let’s reclaim a day,” tweeted Umar Khalid’s father and Welfare Party of India national president SQR Ilyas.
“300 days of justice, of wait…” read the tweet by Zainab Fatima, the jailed activist’s sister.
A cultural event was leaded on Facebook in unanimity and solidarity with imprisoned activists and in reminiscence of Fr Stan, at which theatre artists Danish Hussain and Quasar Thakore Padamsee, singer Moushumi Bhowmik and actor Suhaas Ahuja performed.
Delhi based poet and one of the young faces of anti-CAA movement, Nabiya Khan recited her new poem entitled “You are the Revolution” on Umar Khalid and other political prisoners.
“Is Umar Khalid dangerous because he speaks of peace, unity and togetherness?” asks actor Richa Chadda.
“Everyday he spends in jail is a grave miscarriage of justice. Because protest is not a conspiracy. No activists have conspired in the Delhi anti Muslim pogrom and those who have conspired roam freely,” said Jamia Millia Islamia student leader Safoora Zargar who was also arrested in the same case under draconian UAPA and given bail under humanitarian grounds after months of criticism. She was pregnant at the time of arrest.
Many including student activists, movie stars, artists and politicians joined the campaign.
33 year old Umar Khalid, an activist associated with United Against Hate and a former student leader of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), was arrested on 14 September 2020.
Arrested under the UAPA, he remains locked away in a cell in the Tihar jail.
“Life in jail is quite difficult even in normal times. I have spent the last eight months alone in a cell, locked up for over 20 hours a day on several occasions. But the ongoing health crisis has increased the difficulties of prison life manifold,” Khalid who was also tested positive for COVID-19, wrote in a letter.